Rock the Boat: Get the Test You Deserve
They say hindsight is 20/20. When I look back over my journey through ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment, things that didn’t make sense at the time were indicators of what was to come. Of course, I couldn’t have known then what I know now.
I had been very healthy until I turned 41. I started to notice some dull pelvic aching and heaviness, especially with physical activity. Tests showed I had fibroids, so I had a hysterectomy. My cervix was left intact and my left ovary was not removed because I was not ready to start menopause. Looking back now, I see that was a misstep.
I experienced a variety of symptoms that I now suspect were related to ovarian cancer: sudden tightness in my midsection that nearly took my breath away, burping, and a dry hacking cough. It took an intense episode of bloating and explosive diarrhea to compel me to demand additional tests, which led to my diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
I often wish I had experienced some kind of pain because pain is a good motivator. Knowing our bodies, and knowing the symptoms of ovarian cancer is so important—but here’s the key: We have to take action and do something when we suspect something is wrong.
Sometimes that’s hard. I didn’t think something was seriously wrong for seven months because I was still able to do all of my daily activities, such as taking walks with my husband, shopping, and everyone’s favorite, housecleaning! So I just went along with the flow because I felt okay. Looking back, complacency—that “don’t rock the boat” mentality—was once my biggest misstep. I knew from the get-go something different was occurring in my body, but I didn’t make waves. Remember: Doctors are not mind readers. You have to be your own advocate and speak up. Trust your gut and follow through on all aspects of your medical care. Always ask questions, double check, and if needed get a second or third opinion.
Rock that boat!